Sunday, December 13, 2009

St Arvans

This morning's Radio 4 Service came from St Arvans - just listening to the worship transported me back. The music was always good in that place. We lived there for about 10 years - they were very happy ones. The village was a friendly safe place, and we were sad to move on, and have often wondered what life would have been like had we remained there.

This parish church is where each of our sons were baptised - this morning was a delight, especially thankful for all those memories.

Advent is gently progressing, and am enjoying the preparations ...

As we will be away for a while, I'd like to leave you with the Advent Blessing, which I love:
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you,
scatter the darkness from before your path,
and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and the Blessing of God Almighty,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be with you
and all those you love and pray for
this day and always.

Will be logging off now as will be offline until Epiphany.
In the meantime - Have a peaceful and joy-filled Christmas ...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sunrise ~ Sunset

Sunrise and Sunset were both awesome today.

This morning the clouds seemed to be radiating from the sun itself and certainly were heralding the day. Thankfully the old saying 'Red sky in the morning ... sailors (shepherds) warning' didn't come to anything. Those deep rich colours were back again this afternoon. Delightful.

It's been quite a busy day in a very busy week, with a number of different appointments and meetings. These combined with preparations for Christmas means time is truly flying by. Lots of lists to get through ... so there's very little time to put pen to paper, or get on to the blog.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Under Construction

There has been the first fall of snow out in Newport, which has melted, but there will be more soon. It's heads down in IYRS. The first years are working on their Beetlecats, here is Ivor and Matts boat they built last year.
The Chris Craft, one of the second year restoration projects, is coming along and you can follow the progress on the IYRS blog at

Newport is a long way from home, and although I found it very challenging to let my youngest son go to school so very far away, I was sure that IYRS would be crucial in his education. This has been borne out in his commitment and achievements in boatbuilding. He may have many GCSE's and three A levels, but he is finding his hidden talent - he has always wanted to build boats.

Each one of us have inate gifts - it's important to find out what they are. Our education system sometimes enables that discovery, and sometimes misses it by miles. If you are dyslexic, your talents will often be broad, but sometimes hidden. One teacher I encountered as our boys were growing up, was a specialist dyslexic tutor. His belief was that dyslexics are very bright, some are brilliant, they just think in a different way. He had a saying - Dyslexics Change the World. They have an inate ability to think outside the box.

When I was at school, my dyslexia was unnamed. I was regarded as average, and the word blindness made it terrifying for me. Eventually as I left I was told to marry well, and advised that my limited achievements meant I shouldn't go onto further education. Twenty years later, when computers were an essential tool in the dyslexics armoury, I was accepted at Theological College! I had married well, raised a family and then with so much behind me I had courage to step out.

Second Candle in Advent Ring

As we move through Advent each week, another candle is lit on the Advent wreath. I love this element of the season.

Although I've been a regular attendee in church for much of my life, I can remember the exact time and place when I understood the significance of each candle on the advent wreath. Not sure why it had passed me by, for the first 3 decades of my life, but it had. Lighting the light on that occasion was, I recall, accompanied by a full explanation and a prayer. It's sometimes easy to forget that we do many things that we understand in our churches, yet to an outsider may seem strange. If leading a service I will ask if anyone can remember what each candle on the wreath represents.

The first candle represents the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, those great ancients of the Torah - the first five books in the Bible. The second represents the Prophets of the Old Testament, who prepared the way of the Lord. A prayer to accompany maybe:
God our Father,
You spoke to the prophets of old
of a Saviour who would bring peace.
You helped them to spread the joyful message
of his coming Kingdom.
Help us, as we prepare to the celebrate his birth,
to share with those around us
the good news of your power and love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
the light who is coming into the world.
In the weeks of Advent each of these characters join us in our preparations for the fulfilment of the Promise of the Kingdom.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Testimony in Time

Many of our hymns are filled with scripture and quietly give direction. While the singer lifts their voice in song, the words feed and nourish the heart. One of those sung this morning was an old favourite of mine, I love it especially for the lines: filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.Perhaps its my love of the sea and the nautical references resonate, these lines are from Habakkuk 2:14.
God is working his purpose out,
As year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
Where'er man's foot hath trod,
By the mouth of many messengers
Goes forth the voice of God;
Give ear to me, ye continents,
Ye isles, give ear to me,
That the earth may be filled with the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
Yet there's more here than the sea. The Isles of the scriptures were the northern reaches of the known land, beyond European mainland - that is Britain. The islands, the continent ... creation is bearing testimony to the works of the God. The Lord of history.

This hymn was written by Arthur C. Ainger (b. Blackheath, England, 1841; d. Eton, England, 1919) for use by the boys at Eton College, where Ainger was a popular schoolmaster from 1864-1901. Sadly there is an unedifying element of envy being perpetuated in politics, one that is discriminatory of people who've been to Public School, especially Eton.

Perhaps the challenge this discrimination presents may be overcome by celebrating all that's good. The fourth verse has the words:
That the light of the glorious gospel of truth
May shine throughout the world:
Fight we the fight with sorrow and sin
To set their captives free, that the earth ...

Goodness can emanate from across the political spectrum. We may need courage to make a stand so the gospel of truth may shine.

Spectacular Sea Spray

It's a spectacular afternoon, the sun's shining and the tide is high. There's great delight amongst the seagulls who are gathered over and on the water. With each wave there is an almighty thud that reverberates thoughout the house, just ahead of the upward vertical thrust of water which is heavily laden with seaweed. The road is awash with water as the drains are now blocked. Cars passing are creating there own mini tidal waves ahead, and vigorous wakes follow. Out near the harbour where the water is shallow over the rocks there are three intrepid surfers having a whale of a time. I captured two of them earlier today:

I can hear many squeals of delight from young passers by below at the pavement level. From our first floor eyrie, we have a panoramic view of all the activity. A truly good to be alive afternoon here on the Prom in Castletown. Am taking the opportunity to celebrate creation and our Creator.

Sadly, I can't remember how to put my camera onto repeat, so am only getting the occasional photo rather than being able to take a group and pick the best. Note to self, ask Ivor how to do this!

Friday, December 4, 2009

This Made My Day

My Granny gave me a manicure set when I was sent away to Boarding School and I have treasured it ever since. It encouraged me to take care of my nails and hands. Some of you may know that my husband tells me, frequently, that he loves my hands and feet, and is convinced I should have been a hand and foot model. It's a bit late for that now!

I've been following a manicure set on ebay which included a pretty nail buffer (which was not part of the original set) and am happy to say that I was successful in the bidding. What was quite unexpected was the communication that ensued at time of payment. An easy email conversation arose as a result and I sent the sellers a link to this blog. They, confessing never having read a blog but enjoying their visit, agreed that if they couldn't trust a vicar, then who could you trust? The items went in the post before the payment was received.

We live in a time when trust has been frequently superseded by fear and suspicion, and, sadly, this state of affairs subtracts from our com-union one with another.

This truly unexpected episode has but a spring in my step. Many thanks!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love the Cool Colour

It's been a fine, sunny December day. Great day for a walk, although there was a chilly north wind. Wizzy loves lifting her nose to the wind, and her little ears were flapping in the wind today! It's a good direction for Coral Cottage as it's not howling straight into our living room through the large front windows, one of which doesn't keep out very much at all.

We were out this afternoon at the Mills getting one or two things, including a delicious Manx Christmas Pud. At Tynwald Mills, in St John's there is a Cafe ... The Cat That ... it's full of welcoming comfy chairs and I just love the decor. Tea is good too. Inspired by a couple of sites I've found I decided to take my camera and much to hubby's embarrassment took these photos.

If you like turquoise too have a look at these websites:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Superb Arthritic Support

Let me introduce you to Tigger. Here he is - Tigger is my trusty walking stick - with attitude. When it was plain I needed that kind of support, I wanted one that was not regular grey issue. So he came to live with me. Delighted to say that I've very recently had to speak to Tigger and tell him that, for the time being, he's retired, alleluia!

One of the well known sayings about inflammatory arthritis is that: it may not kill you but it can take your life. Sadly, this is true for some suffers. Amongst typical manifestations are exhaustion, fatigue, pain and inflammation. It's a condition that cannot always be seen by onlookers, or even carers, but it can be devastating, especially in a 'flare'. A flare may range from being utterly debilitating, with one or more joints inflamed, to finding it tough getting about, particularly first thing in the morning, to just feeling out of sorts. In a severe attack sometimes the sufferer just wants to withdraw from life.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, knowing about it can help. Knowing, too, where you can turn for support will also help. Here on the Island, we have a terrific arthritis team made up of Drs, Consultants, Special Arthritic Nurse Ellen, OT Mandy, Pharmacist, Physio, Podiatrist (Hope I've not missed anyone off). They offer a course about Arthritis, which is full of all kinds of information. It's one afternoon a week for six weeks. I have learned so much, and that knowledge is very empowering. Diagnosis for Psoriatic Arthritis happened about 6 years ago, and had this opportunity been available all that time ago, I may have been better equipped to cope. Big Big Thank You to the SAS Team.

Self Skippering

While we are again being battered by the weather, Gordon and other yachtmaster tutees are out in Intuition of Boss in the Solent, a Westerly Fulmar. This time they are without a professional skipper and are in full charge of the vessel. Each on board will take the role of skipper to put hours on their logs.

Without much wind, they set out under engine power and waited for the wind to increase.

For Christmas, I've bought Gordon The Shell Channel Pilot and a number of charts for the region. I've sent down the two Solent charts for his use, but will hang onto the Pilot as it'll cost quite a bit to send. I must confess that I don't know that part of the south coast well. Using the Pilot, we can follow the journey. Last night was spent up the Medina River at the Folly Inn. Here, three pints were accompanied by whitebait, scampi, mash and peas. They tottered back on board along the legendary long narrow gangplank!

With Gordon at the helm, they slipped at 7.30 this morning and continued into the Solent. Later picking up a buoy in Portsmouth to clear up breakfast and change skipper. Much of today is about practising pilotage, and there's still not much wind.
Picture from Westerly Owners Association site is of a Fulmar 32.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Recapturing Advent

Advent is the season of Expectation, encapsulated, perhaps, in ingredients of our days here in the northern hemisphere. There is less daylight, protracted colder nights and the advancing of winter - so it's essential to prepare for any eventuality, especially on an Island.

The whistling of the wind today, couldn't muffle the incessant sound of canned street music, even to be heard inside the shops in Peel High Street. Rudolf, Frosty the Snowman, Santa and other characters were already grating on nerves. The chap in the second hand book shop told me he'd turned up his own music in the hopes of drowning out the 'musack'. Woman's Hour told their listeners that today was the first day of Advent. Apparently, over 25,000 people contacted the Beeb to put them right. It is 1st December, and the first window of an Advent calendar can be opened, but Advent Sunday was on 29th November.

Let's recapture Advent. The active part of Advent could be regarded as inactive! The very essence is about waiting - and a close walk with biblical people of waiting reminds me of its importance. Mary and Elizabeth were both awaiting the fulfilment of promises. In common with all expectant mothers, these women knew waiting must be accepted, even celebrated. This particular kind of waiting sometimes requires patient endurance, but promises much.

Even amidst the current culture of immediacy, there can be no shortcuts. We can't fast forward to Christmas. So consciously setting aside the bling of the run up to Christmas, I am actively reclaiming Advent and savouring its treasures - some of which are found in the long hours of darkness.

Weather update - We are once again being pounded by a storm, and sadly I have to tell you that the larger, very new window has failed, not quite as spectacularly as the last, but it is definitely not fit for purpose.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where is your refuge?

Recently, I was asked where would be my place of refuge. Perhaps, it's an easy question to answer when we have the Tower of Refuge in Douglas Bay.

In around 1824, Sir William Hillary conceived the idea of a life boat service manned by a trained crew. This idea was the fore runner of our RNLI. The tower was built on Coniston Rock, after Hillary had been washed overboard from a lifeboat, when trying to save a Steam Packet vessel. He already knew the waters of the Irish Sea were dangerous and he discovered the distance to the shore was too far to swim. The tower gave shipwrecked survivors a refuge, equipped with fresh water and bread, while awaiting their rescue.

For someone brought up near the sea, and loving many kinds of boats, it's a classic sailing boat that I would consider my refuge. There is something comfy and purposeful about how some boats are laid out below decks. Secure accessible stowage is essential, everything has its own particular place, so that it won't go missing, get broken or cause damage if left lying about. I do remember going over an old folk boat, some years ago, which had its own tiny woodburning stove, very cosy.

It's also possible to batten down the hatches from below in inclement weather and if the weather is violent, then the sea anchors could be used. Although, the safest place to be in a boat in bad weather is, of course, in a harbour.

We have a Maritime Artist on the Island called Nicola Dixon, whose compositions are delightful, quirky and I love them. She also has connections with IYRS in Newport RI, as do we! With her permission - here is one of her pictures of the outer Castletown Harbour.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weekend Achievements III

One of the reasons for the mini gathering at the weekend was to talk about the forthcoming wedding. There's just so much to organise. We are very thankful for all the preparations that are already underway in Salisbury. The Church is booked, though the emails and calls to the vicar remain unanswered. The venue for the reception is sorted, and so too are the caterers.

Two wedding mags were brought by Ruth for us to peruse. Well, what an industry has been created around the 'Big Day'! Some choices are quite mad in my opinion. Why give favours of any type to those who are attending - these are rather like party bags from children's celebrations, but at even greater cost, and probably quickly forgotten by the recipient?

We happened to get chatting to a couple over a cup of coffee today. They told us that she had been unable to get a wedding dress in the three months they had between the proposal and day. You apparently need at least six months to get a dress sorted. Why? This was a few years ago, but it's the same today for Ruth.

In my role I have conducted quite a number of weddings. One or two have been great occasions, which have been significant moments for the couples which I know they will treasure throughout their marriages.

Some have been quite different. Occasionally, the little bridesmaids or page boys are children of the bride, and would not be prized away from their mothers skirts, causing all kinds of chaos. I remember one of the first I conducted the video man set up a huge tripod which towered behind and above my 5ft 1in being. There was quite an exchange to get it moved before the service began. Each incident, and there have been many, equips the vicar in a new way - always on the learning curve!

There's a beautiful prayer from the marriage service that, from time to time, I have encouraged those being married to include in their service sheets so all present can participate in:
God of wonder and of joy;
grace comes from you,
and you alone are the source of life and love.
Without you, we cannot please you;
without your love, our deeds are worth nothing.
Send your Holy Spirit
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
that we may worship you now with thankful hearts
and serve you always with willing minds;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It's my prayer for my son and his bride that their preparations will run smoothly and that they'll not be distracted by those things that are unnecessary for their Wedding Day.

With the Queen in Bermuda

The Queen is in Bermuda for a short visit to celebrate the Islands 400 yrs. Ivor will be arriving there later today to spend Thanksgiving with his Godmother Susie, and her family.

When I was there in '76 the Queen came to visit and travelled on Britannia, here docked in Hamilton. Now there is no Britannia, which had been our floating Embassy. This time she has arrived by air and stepped onto the 'Pink' carpet rather than red. (Pink to represent the coral beaches.) She was met by the Governor and Premier.

Ivor is expecting the red carpet, and is looking forward to special relaxing time with his Bermuda family. He has been hard at work, in school at IYRS, restoring a Chris-Craft. His particular red carpet treatment, I am reliably informed, will include beer and chat!

Photos are from family archives I took in 1976, Susie is sitting on her aunt's knee.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shorebased Yachtmaster

While we were being battered by the storms, while our sisters and brothers were being deluged and washed away in Cumbria, the Yachtmaster class were doing shorebased training.

Land based teaching, training and examining of the aspirant yachtmasters, takes place in the Hamble at the School.

A tour of Peel Harbour over the weekend confirmed the terrible sea conditions. All the fishing boats were safely moored in the harbour - out of harms way.

Those who are living through terrible times in Cumbria are in my prayers, so too are those who work on the sea:
Here's a Sailor's Psalm:

Others went out to sea in ships
and did their business on the great oceans.
They saw what the Lord could do,
the miracles he did in the deep oceans.
He spoke, and a storm came up,
which blew up high waves.
The ships were tossed as high as the sky
and fell low to the depths.
The storm was so bad that they lost their courage.
They stumbled and fell like people who were drunk
They did not know what to do.
In their misery they cried out to the Lord,
and he saved them from their troubles.
He stilled the storm
and calmed the waves.
Then were they glad because of the calm,
and God guided them to the harbour they wanted.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his love
and the miracles he does for people.
from Psalm 107
Life's journey will always be through storms, as well as calm. Sometimes we can avoid distressing storms, as the fishing boats have done throughout the last week here on the island. There will be times when the only thing to do is to hove to, metaphorically or literally, and face out the tossing of the storm, knowing that we're never without hope.
A Prayer ~
Rescue us, Lord
from the storms.
Still our fears,
calm our minds
and bring us
safely into harbour.
These charts, pictured, were my father's - in the bottom left hand corner is written:
Based upon British Admiralty Charts, with permission of the Controller of HM Stationery Office, and the Hydrographer of the Navy Apl. 1954 - 424. Corrected to 1955.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Achievements II

Meal times have always been central to our family life. We have always gathered around the table to share food and talk about the day - and - decisions are best made on a full tummy.

We ate well throughout the weekend. One course we had was a wonderful bowl of queenies on a rocket salad with balsamic glaze. Yum. Though the glasses are empty they were frequently being refilled.

Queenies are a delicacy of the Isle of Man. In or out of season (ours had been frozen) these tiny scallops are gorgeous. A favourite family grace is
Come Lord Jesus be our guest
and may our food by you be blessed.

Weekend Achievements I

While the boys were growing up I always wanted a car with 7 seats. Today we have one!

Having six adults to ferry around this weekend it was extremely useful. We all managed to pile into the car and do a bit of sightseeing. Here are Susan and Ruth looking quite happy - though they did comment they could only see where we had been. Friday the weather was sunny so Terry and Susan had a quick nip up to St John's and then we had a lovely tea in Harbour Lights in Peel. There really is nothing like a good cuppa! Ruth and Mally arrived on the last Gatwick flight and we had late supper.

Saturday saw the Bride and Groom going to the Jewellers to size up for their wedding rings. Meanwhile the oldies had a look at Laxey Wheel in torrential rain before abandoning the island tour. We then all piled back into the car and took a trip to the Calf instead. The storm ensured the sea was choppy and only a few souls braved the inclement weather, amidst the spume and flying seaweed, to view the local seals. We discovered we had severe 'window measles' on our return.

Wizzy took our visitors out for many walks. They are seen discussing the geography of the Island in relation to the the mainland. It really is good to spend time with our extending family.

Blogging attire

Having an ancient laptop requires finding all kinds of ways to overcome technology trouble. A new hub seemed to be the answer, and for a while all went well. Today it appears that the 'akasa' has given up the ghost so am back to plugging things in one at a time.

This sneaky photo was taken by Ally while I was trying to combat all the problems AND the low level of our winter sun.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Victor Meldrew Moments III

I don't believe it.

The new window put in place just weeks' ago has water streaming down the walls on either side. The storm has not abated at any point of the day.

Visitors who ventured out into the inclement weather could only come in through the back door as the road was closed. Michelle and Julie came to help tidy up, in readiness for the arrival of almost in-laws and the Bride and Groom. The girls were closely followed by Chris and Colin who proceeded to pull up floorboards to find out where the water is getting in. We have a fresh layer of dust tonight. Really need to practise patience.

Celebrating Ally's b'day with a glass of wine and cup of tea!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Window Measles

Yet another storm ... well it IS autumn.

The tides are interesting! We are coming off springs. These are the highest tidal ranges in the cycle. Over the last few days we have taken a pounding. This can last about an hour or so either side of high tide. Each crashing wave shaking the house and creating havoc on the road. It makes quite a lively time and Wizzy wants to nuzzle under the covers in the night! Here she is hiding under a table and dustsheet!

High tide plus high winds, increases the likelihood of flying debris, and seaweed gets everywhere. You can see the 'window measles' here. If seaweed manages to dry it sticks like limpets even to vertical surfaces. We have to hope the rain falls shortly after or measles can last for days.

A friend came to visit today as just as high tide was reached. Very bravely she used the front door and managed to dodge the spray and debris. (We use the back entrance at lively high tides.) For quite a long time we stood at the window and surveyed the crashing waves, flying debris and sloshing water that filled the road and blocked the drains.

There is something reassuring watching all the elemental activity from the comfort of our living room.

During storms, either in nature or in lives, we need to find shelter. Just like Wizzy we all need our refuges.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pollack and Pesticles!

I'm sorry I haven't a clue

This has got to be the funniest programme on the radio. Tonight's was the first time the replacement to Humph - Jack Dee took the chair. Hilarious and quick witted it truly is - the antidote to panel games! -

Amongst the nonsense of this evening was the amusing comment on the nutty political correctness of our time. Would you believe that a supermarket has decided to rename, Pollack!

Go to have a listen

In the waiting

Loving God
We place in your gentle hands
those who are sick.
Ease their pain and
heal the damage
done to them
in body, mind or spirit.

Be present to them
through the support
of family and friends,
and medical staff.
Fill them with the
warmth of your love
Now and always

Held in prayer

Today my dear cousin is undergoing surgery for cancer.

Holding her and those who minister to her before God. Holding, too, her husband, all her family and all friends near or far who await news.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What a difference a day makes

It's been a beautiful day, a good to be alive November day which makes me want to sing! It's hard to imagine that vicious storms were assaulting our shores a day or so ago. Looking out across the beach, instead of sand, there's tons of seaweed. Sadly we don't have a garden as it would make an excellent fertilizer.

Singing seems the right response to such a lovely day. Hymn singing was a part of daily assembly, for me and many of my age, which gave us a foundation few of us recognised at the time. It set me to thinking which particular hymn I would chose for today. Could it be All creatures of our God and King ... perhaps, it does celebrate creation and Creator?

Yet it was just 36 hours ago the storm raged. John Newton's hymn, based on Isaiah 33: Glorious things of thee are spoken. Line on line and verse on verse, it's brimming with assurance.

As I researched this hymn, I came upon the site that I've posted at the bottom of this post. I had no idea of Newton's history. His father was a sea-captain, and took his young son to sea. On these journeys, the young Newton was schooled in the harsh realities of life. He remained at sea after his father retired, and over the next few years experienced many kinds of terrible situation. At one point he even fell into the hands of a slave trader.

Finally Newton was reading Thomas à Kempis and ...
... the fearful experiences of a storm at sea in which his ship was almost lost, his deliverance from a severe fever in Africa, — these, and other experiences, at last awoke in the sinful man the memories of the religion his mother had taught him, and he turned from his sins with true repentance.

Reading his history, it's possible to see that the terrible journey that eventually brought Newton to faith informs his writing. I include just one verse, this is my song for today, but go and look at the others.

Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose word cannot be broken,
Form'd thee for His own abode:
On the Rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded,
Thou may'st smile at all thy foes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Night Noises

The eerie silence ended with driving rain late yesterday evening.

Sometime during the night, I was awoken by pounding on the roof. The flat roof acts as a skin of a drum, and we live inside. The wheely bins outside were being blown around adding to the noise. Wizzy was restlessly moving about trying to find a place of safety. When the lightning flashed hailing the electric storm, she was instantly on the bed nosing her way under covers. There she stayed, trembling.

It's curious that, if we are awake in the utter darkness of night, with our eyes tightly shut, the flash of lightning penetrates all.

There are times in our lives when we experience fear. In those moments we seek comfort and assurance. Like children, like all of us, our pets need reassurance.

The Evening Collect:
Lighten our darkness,
Lord, we pray,
and in your great mercy
defend us from all perils
and dangers of this night;
for the love of you only Son,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
These words resonate, not just at night but, especially in fearful times. Take courage and rest assured that darkness is pierced by the Light.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ahead of the Storm

One look at the Shipping Forecast on the web and you know we are in the calm before the storm. Out this morning there is almost an eerie silence despite the hustle and bustle of the little town. I have posted the warning for Irish Sea, the forecast for the south coast, has possiblity of violent storm 11:
Gale warnings - Issued: 1001 Fri 13 Nov
Southerly storm force 10 expected soon

Shipping Forecast - Issued: 1130 Fri 13 Nov
Wind: South 6 to 8, becoming cyclonic gale 8 to storm 10, becoming west 6 to gale 8 later.
Sea State: Rough or very rough, occasionally moderate.
Weather: Rain or squally showers.
Visibility: Moderate or good occasionally poor.

As a consequence of the forecast Inspiration of Boss and her crew have made their way, very early this morning ahead of the weather, to their home port safely.

Here Wizzy is having an early walk, and we await the arrival of more moisture across the floorboards under the window.

A prayer for those who have to be on the high seas from Mission to Seafarers website:
Creator and Father of all,
we pray for those who go down to the sea in ships
and serve you upon the waters of the world.
Be with them in fair weather and foul,
in danger or distress.
Strengthen them when they are weary
and comfort them when they are far from their loved ones;
that they may put their whole trust in you
and find in you a strong anchor for their peace.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Psalm Calm

Many will know how pieces of scripture, although well known, somehow seem highlighted when we come to them in our place of need.

Years ago I found myself returning again and again to the Psalms ... time after time one would spring to mind and within it I would find the encouragement that fitted the situation.

A great favourite is Psalm 139 ... He knows our journeys and our resting places. I have a great friend, with whom and for whom I pray, who is at a distinct cross road and there are two directions which are fighting for attention. Sometimes the signposts are obscured and stepping out is an act of faith. Hindsight will indicate it was the right direction.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Delfin Salar

Inspiration of Boss is in East Cowes tonight. I think they left St Helier and moved to St Peter's Port before making the dash across the Channel.

One boat from my childhood was Delfin Salar, a Moody. The name Delfin was chosen because of the gracious way dophins glide through the water. As boats' names are registered it's important not to have duplicates. Dolphin was already used, and so the Spanish name was chosen. We had stayed in Delfin Playa Hotel in Majorca in the early 60's.

Delfin was the first Salar made of fibreglass and was in the Boat Show, at Earls Court in the 1966. One of her visitors to that show was Princess Margaret. Leaving her mark on the companionway with her stiletto. All who go on board know the importance of correct footwear. Perhaps that wasn't a priority then. I would love to know where Delfin is now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Victor Meldrew Moments II

I don't believe it!

Last night it was really wet and windy and guess what! All that work done over the last week didn't work. The water has penetrated again and the wet floorboards are in exactly the same spots.

Back to the drawing board.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Return of the 3 P's

Loads of work has been going on over the last week. The scaffolding is gone. There is a new wall under this window, fresh plaster and another new window sill.

The second photo is of Artie's Cafe, Falmouth, Cape Cod. When I saw it I had to take a photo for Artie our plasterer!

The dust sheets are (temporarily) folded away, and we now await the return of the painter and plumber. Also I am pleased to say that the Juliet Balcony, which we paid for last November when window No. 2 was put in, has just arrived and is in crates awaiting assembly.

We have visitors arriving in 10 days. The parents of the Bride: Terry and Susan, as well as the Groom and Bride our son Mally and fiancee Ruth ... and I would love to be straight before they come.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gale Warning

It has been a beautiful autumn day, here, with wall to wall sunshine. So warm we had to open all the windows when visitors arrived, so they didn't wilt.

The sea has been calm and the ducks and swans have been busy socialising and feeding all around the water's edge of the bay. Visibility has been good with the mountains of Man framed by the clear blue heavens. A lovely day all round in the middle of the Irish Sea. The pink/red skies herald another good day ahead.

Elsewhere the shipping forecast today: Gale warnings were issued at today 1526 Sun 08 Nov was gale force 8 now veered northerly.

Obviously my mind turns to the sailors in Portland, where Inspiration of Boss lies overnight in St Helier. Six o'clock this evening the forecast for that sea area is Northerly 6 - gale 8 decreasing 3 or 4 veering southeasterly later. Seastate rough/very rough decreasing mainly moderate.

Commit all seafarers to the Almighty's care this night.

Whate'er the tide
The Lord at their side,
In storm or in calm
To keep them from harm,
In good or in ill
He's with them still.
David Adam (adapted)

Drying out

Leaving the shelter of the harbour wall in Alderney the company of Inspiration of Boss headed for Cherbourg's marina. It was a damp crossing, so once safely moored, the single heater was put on in order to dry out the waterproofs.

The journey from Cherbourg to St Helier, began at 9.15 am Saturday and was an even wetter thrash. They were tacking into a force 8 all the way with gusts of 9 as they headed through squalls. Rain, hail and the sea drenched them to the skin and their porridge, on Saturday morning, had to sustain them through into the night.

Once in sight of Jersey, they turned to follow the coast. Here it became more hairy as now, on a run in heavy seas, they were close to broaching. Every time they met a wave the end of the boom was submerged. They arrived, 16 hours later, at the entrance to St Helier at 1.15 am, within 15 minutes of their entrance being made impossible, by the well known bar.

When Gordon contacted me they were drying out. They were all so very cold and wet that they were thankful to be safely in port. He was not sure that the heater would be efficient or sufficient enough to dry everything, so they were hoping to find somewhere to dry their wetweather gear and they were going to find a 'greasy spoon' for a good feed. Also on board are Gareth, George, Nick and Skipper/Examiner Rich.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We will remember them

There is a time for everything ... so we read in Ecclesiastes 3. On Remembrance Sunday, we give thanks for all who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I am moved by television news coverage of those who make their final journey through the town of Wootton Bassett. The people of this small town stand in silence to pay their respects to our fallen. These young men and women return, not to the bosom of their families but, to be laid to rest in home soil. Wootton Bassett remind us that we live in Great Britain.
I pray that, as the family and friends grieve for their loved ones, the seed of hope will be planted in hearts.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)
The chattering of everyday life can become a cacophony. Just stop, in silence, to remember and give thanks for them.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The power of naming

Over and over again, I find myself amazed by the awesome goodness of the Almighty.

I have been very ill recently, so bad that I thought the end was nigh ... even went to the solicitors to write my will ... I could hardly walk, the pain was terrible and I was very, very frightened. (At the time I thought this strange, now I know the reason).

An appointment was made to see my rheumatologist. On arrival that morning I was dismayed to find instead a 'General Physician'. What an encounter! A simple question from him 'How did you feel as you prepared for your last post?' and one reply from me 'Really excited'. A statement from him 'And you were bitterly, bitterly disappointed'.

There you have it. This is not the time perhaps to write the details. Almost the first thing I had to do on arrival in post was to clean my front door of smeared human faeces - And I am sad to say there were all kinds of things that followed. I must add that amidst the mess there were some treasures.

Last night I sat with Psalm 116 and, found words to describe how it was at times in that place and, I know healing is underway. In just a few days I no longer need 'Tigger' my walking stick with attitude. I can once more move around with ease and I find I'm me again.

Humbled by His love.

Today I celebrate all that is good, all that has been and all that will be, and know there is nothing to fear.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alderney Achieved

After those false starts. This afternoon they reached Alderney, and are currently on a buoy inside the sea wall. They achieved landfall swiftly taking 8 hours. There is no chance of getting ashore as
1. there is no water taxi and
2. any attempt to use their dinghy would be to hasten arrival in France without the boat.
So it's beans on toast and a mug of tea for all on board tonight.

Am thankful for their safe journeying.

First Encounter

I have been asked by the son at sea to record some of our nautical history.

One of my earliest sailing memories is of Acorn, here on the mud in Woolverstone. There was also a workboat called Pip, but I have yet to find any photos of her. Dad owned the boatyard and park at Woolverstone. As a tiny child Acorn seemed big, but she was dwarfed by all the barges on the river.

There was an old chap, who lived on one of the boats that was laid up in the yard, who was of great interest to little people. I think he gave us a drink and cake. Along with my sister and friends Dena, Dawn and Darrel we would visit him. Remarkably his companions were budgies!

Just found this ancient chart. I'll post some more images as I find them.

Just love the sea.
It is in the DNA.
One son doing his Yachtmaster, the second is crew on Fair Do's VII, a Far 46 racing yacht, which was in the British Team that won the Commodores' Cup last year, and the third is at IYRS Newport RI.